BDO reports 10% growth in its credit card business
- Ted P. Torres () - July 27, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Banco de Oro Unibank Inc. (BDO) has reported a slower 10-percent growth in its credit card business as spending habits continue to be influenced by the poor economic conditions.

“It is lower than the estimated industry growth of between 15 and 20 percent, as the final figures have still to be released,” Ma. Ophelia Ll. Camina, BDO senior vice president, said.

BDO cards-in-force stood at 900,000 as of June this year. The bank is optimistic of hitting the one billion card mark within this year or next year.

There are approximately 6.5 million cards-in-force in the Philippines. However, cardholders tend to have one or two credit cards, one with a foreign bank and another with a major domestic commercial bank.

Cardholders in general have become more mature with the crisis, preferring to use their hard-earned money on essentials. Luxury items have been placed in the backburner for the meantime.

Camina said that they were not in a hurry to hit the one million ceiling, preferring to choose quality of cardholders over volume.

“We want to be sure that our delinquencies will not grow,” she said, adding that in terms of billings, BDO already stands third in the market.

In fact, the largest domestic commercial bank in the country has not fully tapped its deposit base.

“We are tapping our own customer/data base for the expansion of our card base, that is were we are focusing our efforts; that is really our potential,” Camina said.

With the merger of BDO with the former Equitable PCI Bank, enticing its deposit base to acquire at least one credit card has been a desirable option.

The Equitable PCI Bank group, after all, was one of the country’s biggest card issuers through its subsidiary, Equitable Card Network Inc. Its cards-in-force then was nearly 600,000.

It was eventually dissolved and BDO took over the business.

Presently, it co-brands four credit cards which are offered in an even wider array of card products that are associated with various merchants.

BDO’s card business falls under its consumer banking, along with mortgage, auto and personal loans. As expected, the mortgage and auto loans are doing better than the card business, which in turn, is doing better than the personal loan business.

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